SAN FRANCISCO- LAWFUEL – Legal News Network –The Honorable David W….

SAN FRANCISCO- LAWFUEL – Legal News Network –The Honorable David W. Abbott of the Sacramento Superior Court granted final approval today to a class action settlement resolving claims regarding pricing and collection practices for uninsured patients at all of Sutter Health’s affiliate hospitals.

As part of the settlement, Class members will be entitled to make a claim for refunds or bill reductions of between 25% to 45% from their prior hospital bills. For the next three years, Sutter hospitals have also agreed to maintain discounted pricing policies for uninsured patients that will make Sutter’s pricing for uninsured patients comparable to the pricing for patients with private insurance. In addition, Sutter has agreed to maintain more compassionate collections policies that will protect uninsureds who fall behind in their payments.

The claims process under the settlement is ongoing. Claim forms are available online at the settlement website, www.uninsuredsettlement.com, and the deadline to submit claims is January 17, 2007.

The Settlement Class includes all persons who:

Received hospital services from a Sutter-affiliated hospital between September 3, 2000 and August 3, 2006; and
Were uninsured at the time of treatment.
“We are pleased that the Court has granted final approval to this groundbreaking settlement so that uninsured patients will receive substantial refunds or reductions on their bills going back to September 2000. In the future, uninsured patients will also benefit substantially, because the settlement requires that Sutter end price discrimination against its uninsured patients, maintain generous charity case policies for low-income uninsureds to receive free or heavily discounted care, and protect uninsured patients from unfair collections practices. We hope that other hospital systems will follow this positive trend in fair hospital pricing and treatment for uninsured patients,” said Plaintiffs’ attorney Kelly M. Dermody, of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, in San Francisco, California.

The consolidated lawsuit was filed by six uninsured patients on behalf of themselves and hundreds of thousands of uninsured patients at Sutter-affiliated hospitals in California, alleging that Sutter charged uninsured patients excessive and unfair prices for medical treatment and services at Sutter-affiliated hospitals, and engaged in aggressive and unfair collections practices. Defendant denied wrongdoing and liability in the case.

Lead Counsel for named plaintiffs and class members is Kelly M. Dermody of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. More information about the settlement can be found at www.uninsuredsettlement.com, or by calling the contact listed below.

Source/Contact:

Kelly M. Dermody
LIEFF CABRASER HEIMANN & BERNSTEIN, LLP
275 Battery Street, 30th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
Tel.: (415) 956-1000
Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, is a sixty attorney, AV-rated law firm founded in 1972 with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Nashville. Lieff Cabraser has served as court-appointed Plaintiffs’ Lead or Class Counsel in state and federal coordinated, multi-district, and complex litigation throughout the United States. Lieff Cabraser has litigated and resolved thousands of individual lawsuits and hundreds of class and group actions, including some of the most important civil cases in the United States over the last decade. Lieff Cabraser enjoys a national reputation for professional integrity and the successful prosecution of our clients’ claims. In every year since 2003, the National Law Journal has selected Lieff Cabraser as one of the top plaintiffs’ law firms in the nation. In compiling the list, the National Law Journal examined recent verdicts and settlements in addition to overall track records. Lieff Cabraser is one of only three plaintiffs’ law firms in the United States to receive this honor for the last four consecutive years.

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